Players and personnel decisions Jets should make in season’s final quarter

The Jets have five games left in the season and at 4-8, their hopes for the playoffs are all but gone. The team doesn’t even know who their starting quarterback will be for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans. At this point, the Jets want to try and finish strong for team morale reasons, but it may also be time to start looking ahead to 2024 and what the roster could look like.

Because of that, the Jets have some players who deserve to see more playing time, even if it’s just for 2024 evaluation purposes. We’ll take a look at some of those players and personnel options the Jets should consider looking at in the homestretch of the season.

Israel Abanikanda needs to see the field more

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago, on November 14, the Jets released running back Michael Carter. The move was seemingly made to get rookie Israel Abanikanda more playing time. He has played ten snaps in three games since Carter was released, all in Week 11 against the Bills. It’s been all Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook.

Early in the season, the Jets touted pass protection as the reason Abanikanda was a weekly inactive. Even if his pass protection isn’t the greatest, the Jets would be wise to utilize his speed on the field, even if just a change of pace back. Abanikanda ran well during the preseason and a touchdown machine last year at Pittsburgh (21 total touchdowns).

Why not get Abanikanda about 10-15 snaps per game, even if that only means a handful of touches. At least get him on the field to see where he might stand heading into 2024. Hall and Abanikanda are the only tailbacks under contract after this season — fullback Nick Bawden is also under contract.

Jeremy Ruckert gets his chance to shine

<p>Jeremy Ruckert has deserved a chance to be the No. 2 tight end for weeks now. He’ll be the No. 2 tight end next year anyway as <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:C.J. Uzomah;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">C.J. Uzomah</a> will almost certainly be a cap casualty this offseason. Injuries are always tough and Uzomah suffered a knee injury in Week 13 against the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Atlanta Falcons;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Atlanta Falcons</a>. He is being placed on injured reserve, all but ending his season — he would be eligible to return Week 18 against the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:New England Patriots;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">New England Patriots</a>.</p> <p>But football is a next-man-up mentality and <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Ruckert;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Ruckert</a> is that next man. The Jets have longed to get more work for their 2022 third-round pick and now is their chance. Ruckert and <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Tyler Conklin;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Tyler Conklin</a> can both provide weapons over the middle of the field, allowing the Jets to work more 12 personnel. They had been running “12” with Conklin and Uzomah, but Ruckert should help expand the possibilities from that grouping.</p>

Keep Carter Warren in the lineup at offensive tackle

Constant injuries along the offensive line have caused the Jets to start nine different offensive line combinations in 12 games this season. Recently, those combinations have included rookie offensive tackle Carter Warren, who has now started at both left and right tackle.

Warren has looked good in his limited action this season after starting the season on the physically unable to perform list. The Jets drafted Warren in the fourth round with the hopes of him eventually working into the starting lineup, even if it was 2024 — Warren suffered a torn meniscus during his final year at Pitt; 2023 had the possibility of being a redshirt year.

Now healthy and playing well, Warren should remain in the lineup moving forward. The Jets used Duane Brown as an extra blocker at times against the Falcons. With his age and with the Jets looking settled with Mekhi Becton at left tackle and Warren at right, the line should remain status quo. That includes Warren.

Elevate safety Trey Dean for a game or two

Story originally appeared on Jets Wire